News / Africa

Ugandan Wins Africa Rural Connect Contest

Johnstone Baguma's idea focuses on strengthening the capacity of small-scale rural maize farmers in western Uganda

Vitamin A-enriched orange maize is a possible new weapon in the fight against malnutrition among the world's poor.
Vitamin A-enriched orange maize is a possible new weapon in the fight against malnutrition among the world's poor.

Multimedia

Audio
James Butty

A Ugandan is the grand prize winner of the Africa Rural Connect contest organized last year by the National Peace Corps Association to solicit ideas on ways to improve the lives of rural farmers in Africa.

Johnstone Baguma is founder and executive director of Toro Development Network, a community-based, non-governmental organization that promotes access to, and strategic use of, information communication technologies for development in western Uganda.

Baguma’s idea focused on strengthening the capacity of small-scale rural maize farmers, particularly on production for urban markets.

He told VOA his organization is grateful for the award which, he notes, will go a long way in helping farmers in western Uganda who, he said, have been exploited for a long time.

“As Toro Development Network, we are planning to continue with this project, especially hoping that farmers who are mainly involved in maize growing, how we can help them improve on their production, how they can be able to market their produce because they have been heavily exploited,” he said.

Baguma also hopes the $12,000 prize will enable his organization to further assist rural farmers manage their post-harvest losses, as well as connect them to prospective urban buyers.

He said his organization wants to use basic communication tools, such as mobile phones, to support rural development.

“We realize that, because of the lack of communication, there is a lot of lagging behind, especially in the agro-business sector, looking at issues of how production can be increased, looking at issues of marketing, farmers were being exploited because they couldn’t know different prices in different areas. So, we mainly focus on how we can promote (the) use of basic communication tools for these farmers. For example, we’re looking at mobile phones to be able to connect with different prospective buyers,” Baguma said.

Baguma said the Toro Development Network is also looking at the use of local FM radio stations in the region to help farmers share knowledge about production and how to market their produce.

He said his project is targeting maize farmers because the maize crop has a multiplier effect.

“The maize crop is a staple food in this region. By the same token, the maize crop is a cash crop. Farmers can actually be able to sell and expand on their income. So, we are looking at food security; we are also looking at expanding the economic status of our farmers,” he said.

Baguma said he hopes international development organizations would emulate the approach of the National Peace Corps Association by asking for local public input before formulating any development strategy.

“That is very important; allow the people in the communities to express what they feel can work best for them, and I believe that, if this approach is adopted by a number of donor organizations, I think it would be a good approach to enable to realize more benefit,” Baguma said.

Molly Mattessich, manager of online initiatives for the National Peace Corps Association, said her organization has been impressed by the quality of ideas coming from Africa.

“We think we’ve created a platform for people living in rural Africa to collaborate with Peace Corps volunteers with different organizations from different countries to develop some of the best ideas. So, we are very proud of giving a voice to people who previously did not have a place to post their ideas,” Mattessich said.

She said the National Peace Corps Association will continue to maintain the website, www.AfricaRuralConnect.org for people to continue posting their ideas and contacting other potential organizations.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid